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"Key Internet Policy Issues" is a series of contributions from people living in countries new or relatively new to the Internet about what they consider to be key policy issues related to the deployment and use of the Internet in their country. Each text is published under the complete responsibility and with the permission of its author. These contributions were solicited by Alan McCluskey, guest editor, in preparation for a special issue of the Internet Society's magazine "OnTheInternet" entitled "Strategies for development: from thought to action" to be published in November 1997. For more information and comments on the preparation of this special edition see "Addressing Key Policy Issues".

El Salvador
Becoming a nation of information users

As many other countries working towards a sustainable development national model, El Salvador is trying to find an appropriate, "tropicalized" and wide use of science and technology within that model.

Internet being one of those empowering technologies, is of course on the table. Key aspects to consider are national contents development, national PTT upcoming privatisation, nation-wide deployment of technology/ "know-how" and local ISP's interconnectivity (in order to avoid unnecessary payments to outside providers to carry local messages).

Some of us, here and abroad, believe that technologies such as Internet may provide the way for a country to jump into the knowledge-based society. Furthermore, information, as a whole, may be the way to leap and skip development phases that have already been "suffered" by other developed countries. In the long run, it may be the levelling tool.

In order to do that, we need to become a people of information users, which, in turn, means that we have to become information providers and contents developers. As a country, we already have some characteristics that may help accomplish that:

  1. Due to the long years of war, our people has developed a political awareness that it's seen in the growing democratic practices (our national congress has a large component of what used to be called the extreme left), some signs of effective corruption combat, some arrests of prominent persons involved in crimes, and the need and eagerness to keep informed.
  2. Approximately one out of five Salvadorians live abroad, mostly in developed countries, and they send back home not just money, but also there is a transfer of technology, which makes it easier to get to know it and use it.
  3. Education is becoming, in reality, a key issue, accepted and promoted by many social and political forces, including the government.

Just to cite a few examples, there is a formal educational guide made by Universidad Centroamericana about interfaces between the Web and several DBMSs (Data base Management Systems), in Spanish. There is also a data base containing several national research papers on science and technology, including a brief abstract and other classification data, all in Spanish. Finally, there are some official financial and economic statistics, published by the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador.

Rafael Ibarra, Director, Information Technology Department, UCA Jose Simeon Ca–as, El Salvador

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ISSN: 1664-834X Copyright © , Alan McCluskey, info@connected.org
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Created: September 5th, 1997 - Last up-dated: September 5th, 1997